A discarded medical glove in Jersey City, N.J., April 27, 2020.
Arturo Holmes/Getty Images
The COVID-019 pandemic has boosted use of disposable packaging and personal protective equipment, at the same time that many recycling programs are facing budget cuts. The upshot: More plastic trash.
Photo Art Lucas/Shutterstock
We don't notice the plant species we're losing, but we won't be able to ignore the effect of their loss on our supply of food and medicine.
This biodegradable plastic bag had plenty of life left in it, even after three years.
Lloyd Russell/University of Plymouth
Biodegradable bags still strong enough to carry shopping after three years in the ground show that 'biodegradability' isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Where does it go from here?
China, which once processed much of the world's scrap, has slashed imports of "foreign garbage." What can the US do to step up recycling at home?
Plastics are hard to avoid in daily life.
Researchers unpack the vast impact of plastic on our society – from emerging health worries and pollution to recycling and plastic's contributions to modern convenience.
Over 99 percent of today’s plastics come from oil, but new bio-based options are becoming available.
Icons by Vectors Market, Freepik and srip
One big problem with plastics is that they're largely made of petroleum. Sourcing bio-polymers from plants and bacteria has some big benefits – and the technology is starting to take off.
Food packaging is one of the top uses for plastic in consumer goods.
Bio-based plastics made from natural sources break down more easily than conventional plastic, without producing toxic byproducts. But for this to happen they have to be composted, not buried in landfills.
Single-use plastics are convenient, but it’s time to phase them out.
Photo by Sander Wehkamp/Unsplash
How do you help a country get over plastic? By creating awareness and minor inconveniences and by providing lots of reminders.
The most dangerous element from discarded plastic waste is microplastics.
Indonesia is the world's largest producer of the seaweed that offers a solution for the global plastic crisis.
A plastic bag floats in the ocean in this 2016 photo.
Banning plastic bags in food distribution is complicated and not all municipalities are on board. Are bioplastics a solution?
Not as green as you might think.
Truly green plastic requires more than sustainable raw materials.
Plant-based, sustainable plastics may hold many of the answers to our plastic problems.
Imported laptop housings, Guiyu, China.
Basel Action Network
China, which recycles much of the world's waste material, is slashing its scrap imports. This move could force the United States and Europe to boost recycling instead of shipping trash overseas.
Plastic pollution: discarded plastic bags are a hazard to marine life.
Tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year, but a switch away from petroleum-based products to bio-derived and degradable composites could lessen marine pollution.
Even a microbe won’t eat plastic.
Consumers and makers of plastic products want plastic to biodegrade to minimize the environmental impact, but some additives don't live up to the claims.
Inside Boeing’s Dreamliner: tomorrow’s polymers today.
The New York World’s Fair of 1939-40 was one of the greatest expos the world had ever seen. Visitors to Flushing Meadow Park in Queens were invited to see the “world of tomorrow” giving them a first glimpse…